2023: Tinubu, Atiku, Obi shun NHRC-UN Presidential Town Hall meeting

No reasons were given for the absence of the three leading candidates for the 2023 presidential elections.

2023: Tinubu, Atiku, Obi shun NHRC-UN Presidential Town Hall meeting
(L-R) Tinubu, Atiku, Obi

Bola  Ahmed Tinubu, Atiku Abubarkar and Peter Obi on Saturday were absent at  the Presidential Town Hall meeting on human rights and 2023 elections organised by the National Human Rights Commission, (NHRC). Hamza Al-Mustapha and Omoyele Sowore were among the other six  presidential candidates in attendance. 

No reasons were given for the absence of the three leading candidates for the 2023 presidential elections.

Speaking at the town hall meeting which is part of the activities to commemorate the 2022 Human Rights Day, the presidential candidates advocated transparent and competent leadership as panacea to injustice and human rights abuses in the country.

They argued that rights of citizens cannot be guaranteed in the face of poverty, hunger, and injustice occasioned by corruption. 

The presidential candidate of the Action Alliance (AA) Hamza Al-Mustapha specifically called for drastic reforms in the country's justice administration and the court system for  advancement of rights .

Al-Mustapha promised a separation of the office of Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) from the office of Minister of Justices and also a separation of convicts from those awaiting trial in correctional centres.

Sowore faulted  the constitution of the country, which he said  appears contradictory such  that rights of Nigeria are not enforcable in many ways. 

Musa Kwankwaso of the NNPP also promised reformation in educational, security and judicial sector as penecea to current challenges facing the country. 

According to him, if the educational system  is affordable and judicial system reformed, it would reduce the challenges of insecurity among  other challenges .

Accord Party's Presidential Candidate professor Christopher Immumolen advocated complete digitalisation of the country's governance for efficiency and consequently curbing of corruption which he said was responsible for suffering of Nigerians.  

On his part, the presidential candidate of Action Democratic party, ADP, Sani Yabagi, said also there is a nexus between the economic growth of Nigeria and leadership, stating that right leadership would advance rights of Nigeria . 

The Town Hall meeting, organised in collaboration with the United Nations (UN) was aimed at discussing the key human rights issues affecting the country during electioneering campaigns and the electoral process.

According to NHRC boss, Tony Ojukwu, “This is not the regular town hall meeting that people know, where presidential candidates go and talk about their manifestoes, on the economy, security, etc. No!  We want to make human rights an issue.

”What that means is that political office holders must address their minds to human rights that concern the country as well. It is not only about the economy and security.n

“So this presidential town hall meeting is going to gauge the pulse of presidential candidates on what they think about key human rights issues like prison congestion; peaceful protest; participation of women in politics; social gender-based violence; disobedience to court orders and all these key human rights issues that nobody is talking about.

” So, we think that this should also be part of what our leaders should be talking about. That is the essence of the town hall meeting.” OJukwu clarified.

The NHRC explained that beyond its statutory mandate to work with civil society and other partners, the work of civil society organisations and human rights defenders is at the heart of human rights promotion and protection nationally, regionally and globally.

Other presidential candidates were  Peter Umeadi of APGA and Ebenezer Adowale of SDP among others.